Mixed emotions about joining the Medicare crowd

Sunrise by Bruce Stambaugh

By Bruce Stambaugh

There is a difference between thinking young and thinking that you are young.

Despite what I see in the mirror every morning and my occasional childish behavior, I believe that I still think young. I readily acknowledge that I am no longer young. The baldhead, gray whiskers and skin creases are obvious hints.

My body reminds me I’m no longer a spring chicken as well. With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I could count the ways. I am pretty sure, however, no one wants to hear about my aches and pains. Mine are insignificant compared to those of others.

Sun rays by Bruce StambaughNevertheless, with my 65th birthday on the horizon, I am now a certified, card-carrying member of Medicare. When the card came in the mail recently, I didn’t know whether to smile or cry. It was sobering to see my name boldly printed on that red, white and blue card. Reality, as difficult as it was to accept, hit hard.

Facts are facts. The truth is that I am entering the last quarter of my life, assuming the best. I have to be realistic about who I am and what possibly lies ahead. I know I could get hit crossing the road retrieving the mail. However, with longevity in my family, I expect to live another 20 to 30 years.

The key of course is how I live them, not how long I live them. Isn’t that the case for each and every one of us?

I try to take good care of myself in every aspect of my life, physically, mentally, and spiritually. When the weather permits, I try to walk at least 30 minutes everyday. Walking not only exercises my body, but stirs my mind as well.

White-crowned sparrow by Bruce StambaughThe brisk stroll invigorates my muscles and gets my blood flowing. The soft, cheery call of the White-crowned Sparrows singing from the creek-side brush uplifts my mood.

Greeting the scholars gathering for another day of lessons at the one-room Amish school I pass brings back many fond memories of my own days in the classroom, both as a student and an educator. The hearty wave of my friend, Martha, reminds me how blessed I am and have been. Like a brilliant double rainbow, friends enrich my spirit.

Inspirations like those keep me going. I think back and recall the good times, allowing them to override any and all negative experiences, and there have been plenty. It is easy to come to a simple conclusion. I am grateful.

The secret to living a full, happy life is no secret at all. Bringing joy to others is really what it’s all about. In life’s daily clamor, it’s easy to lose sight of that basic fact.

Maren by Bruce Stambaugh

Maren, 3.

If I have learned anything in my first 64 years, it is this: Blessing others by what I do, say and write blesses me. I know I have fallen short too many times. The key is to keep on trying. A simple kindness like holding the door for someone will suffice.

I didn’t expect signing up for Medicare to be so traumatic or reflective. I sighed to myself, accepted the card and tucked it away in the most appropriate place in my wallet, right behind the pictures of my grandchildren.

That way whenever I need to pull out the card that says I’m old, the shining eyes and effusive smiles of my grandchildren will keep me young.

Grandsons by Bruce Stambaugh

Davis, 6, and Evan, 8.

This column appeared in The Bargain Hunter, Millersburg, OH.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2012

8 Comments

Filed under column, family, news, photography, writing

8 responses to “Mixed emotions about joining the Medicare crowd

  1. Carol

    Happy Birthday, cousin! Grandchildren sure make all so very joyful…

    Like

    • Thanks, Carol. Indeed, grandchildren are heart-warming, most of the time. 🙂 How many do you have?

      Bruce

      Like

      • Carol Burrall

        We have two little boys looking forward to Christmas. In view of sad events in Newtown we are so thankful that our 6 year old 1st grader grandson is fine. Our other little one is just 6 months old. So precious!

        Like

      • Good for you, Carol. I bet they gets lots of love from you. As a former principal, I can’t imagine what those school survivors are going through. Just horrible.

        Stay well and Merry Christmas,

        Bruce

        Like

  2. Happy Bithday, Bruce. Your honesty draws others who carry their own mixed feelings. thank you.
    Blessings on this day and may God grant you many years.
    CC

    Like

  3. Ahh Bruce, as I approach 70, I feel much as you do.y mind is still very active, my body does not always cooperate. I often repeat the rest of my days can be the best of my days, it is a choice. We are blessed to be a blessing and your writing certainly blesses your readers. Your open honesty is very refreshing in a day when most everyone wants to blame someone else for their shortcomings. I look forward to your postings each week !

    Like

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